Catholic Central borrows a phrase and refuses to lose

Southeastern junior Tyler King shoots with pressure from Newton’s Austin Evans during a Division IV sectional semifinal Wednesday at the Trojan Activities Center. BRYANT BILLING / CONTRIBUTED

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Southeastern junior Tyler King shoots with pressure from Newton’s Austin Evans during a Division IV sectional semifinal Wednesday at the Trojan Activities Center. BRYANT BILLING / CONTRIBUTED

Catholic Central senior forward Cossy Catanzaro said the team has brought back the slogan from the days of Jason Collier: refuse to lose. The Irish did refuse to lose in a Division IV sectional semifinal Wednesday.

The Irish were down by three points to Twin Valley South with four minutes to go but stormed back to earn a 54-47 victory. Catholic Central will face Ohio Heritage Conference rival Southeastern in a sectional final on Saturday night at Troy High School.

Central finished the game on a 13-4 run, during which Catanzaro made two put-back attempts off of missed shots.

The biggest put-back came with about 1:50 left in the fourth. Catanzaro hit a free throw to tie the game 46-46, then missed a second attempt. Sabien Doolittle knocked the ball in the air after the miss, and Dominic DeWitt grabbed the rebound and threw up a shot. DeWitt missed his shot, but Catanzaro grabbed it and put it back in to give the Irish a two-point lead.

Doolittle completed a three-point play with 45 seconds left to increase Central’s lead to 51-47, and Trey Dunn added a free throw and layup after a steal to secure the win.

“We’ve had a different mentality this year,” Catanzaro said. “Coach (Cody Sarensen) brought back the slogan from when Jason Collier and those guys played, which is ‘refuse to lose.’ We’ve really stepped it up and have played to that mentality where we don’t want to lose anymore.”

The Trojans beat Catholic Central 65-55 in OHC play on Jan. 13.

Southeastern 62, Newton 43: Choosing between scoring 1,000 career points or playing again at UD Arena is an easy decision for Colton Spears.

“That’s a no-brainer, it’d be UD for sure,” Spears said.

Spears went over 1,000 career points on a 3-pointer early in the second quarter in Wednesday’s first sectional semifinal, one of three that came during a 17-4 run that put No. 1 seed Southeastern in control against Newton.

Now, he’ll try to make sure the team gets back to the district finals for a second-straight season, which it can do with a win over Catholic Central on Saturday. Southeastern beat Fort Loramie in overtime in a district final game at UD last season.

“It was a great feeling for us last year to win a district, and I really want us to get back there this year,” Spears said. “That’s the main goal.”

The Trojans (23-1) ran away from Newton with a big run in the first half. Andrew Lyons hit a shot and Trevor King added a 3-point play in the final minute to extend Southeastern’s lead to 16-8, then Lyons and Spears hit 3-pointers in the first 40 seconds of the second to put Southeastern up 22-8.

Spears, who scored 18 points, hit a 3 from several feet behind the line with 5:55 left in the second to reach the milestone.

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